Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The fruits of the Holy Spirit empowers us and makes us both willing and conformable, for use to serve others. It is by faith that we do the works and it is by faith that these works produce fruits in our lives as well as becoming beneficial in the lives of others. It is always important to note that works does not produce faith, instead, faith produces works. The greater our faith, the greater our works.
Everyone on the face of this earth, is producing some sort of fruit. It can be bad fruit or it can be good fruit. When we make the conscious decision to make Jesus our Lord our hearts become open to change. When we make the conscious decision to ask for and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our daily lives, our hearts become changed from glory to glory and from faith to faith. This change will manifest itself in the form of spiritual fruit. Jesus said we will know others by their fruits. In other words, we can know who belongs to Him and who is only pretending to belong to Him. Every plant yields seeds according to it's kind and Jesus said we can know a tree by the fruit, whether it be good or bad. It is impossible to yield hatred as fruit and belong to Jesus, since Jesus says that love is the fruit of the Spirit. And hatred is not the opposite of love, but instead, hatred is the absence of love. And the absence of love would mean the absence of Jesus. Yes, we can all fall short and resort back into our old nature which will produce feelings of unease and discomfort and hatred, but our new nature will fight these feelings and know that love is in us and love is our desire, no matter what we are feeling. The old nature might rear it's ugly head, but it will not be able to quench the conviction of love. We will always return to love, as long as we understand that Jesus lives in us and the Holy Spirit guides us. We make the conscious decision to receive the gift of salvation that is offered to us by Jesus. We must also make the conscious decision to receive the nourishment of the new nature and allow the Holy Spirit to bring this nature into fruit-bearing maturity. How is the Holy Spirit able to do this? The Holy Spirit works with the Word of God within us to change and re-create and renew us, which in turn will someday sooner or later, bear fruit. Psalms 1 best describes this process. Note especially, verse 3 .. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth fruit in it's season and whose leaf shall not wither. And whatever he does shall prosper.
Wow, that is some good news! Want to hear some more good news?
We do not have to force ourselves to bear good fruit or feel threatened by the bad fruit in our lives. We do not have to allow condemnation or shame or guilt to hinder or retard the development of good fruit in our lives. We don't have to pretend, because Jesus is our root and that makes the tree good. We only have to believe. John 15:1-3 Bearing good fruit is doable, because Jesus expects this to happen in our lives. But it is not something we make happen, only something we allow Him to make happen and it will take time. Bearing fruit is not something God expects from Pastors and Teachers only. Bearing fruit is expected of each and every individual that calls Jesus 'Lord'.
Jesus says that we must abide in Him and that is the key to bearing good fruit. Spend time with Him and in His Word. Spend time in prayer and meditation (speaking and imagining Godly things). Become familiar with what He says and does. Spend time with others who believe in the saving and changing power of Jesus.
And we must bear in mind that the fruit comes first, before we are given the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is no coincidence that there are nine fruits and nine gifts.
This week for our weekly Bible study, Pastor Terri, is giving us the assignment of choosing two of the fruits of the Spirit. I had to search deep within my heart. Of course, yes, I want them all as we all do and will have someday. But, keeping within the assignment I must choose two and then know why I chose the two. What two did I choose? Well I went straight to the gifts and made my decision there first. I chose first, the gift of the Word of Wisdom. This shows us the mind, purpose, and intents of God in situations. We must have love to be able to possess this gift. God is love. And we have to know that this love means goodness and God is good. So that leads me to choosing the spirit of 'Love' as my first choice of fruit.
My second gift choice is the Discerning of Spirits. This gift allows us to know the true spirit behind the acts and things going on around us and this requires the fruit of faithfulness. (This gift also would require the Word of Wisdom and the Word of Knowledge.) There truly is a spiritual war being waged all around us whether we acknowledge this war or ignore this war. It takes faith to know that the realm exists and is active and the fruit of faithfulness to stay true to God and not get fooled by some spirit pretending to be God or an angel of light. And this leads me to choose 'Faithfulness' as my second choice of fruit.